NPHW: Using Technology as a Public Health Tool
National Public Health Week isn't over yet! For Thursday's technology and public health theme, we want to highlight a project that perfectly combines both to address an important issue in Massachusetts.
Author: Kelly Danckert
Throughout the history of public health, innovation has been a core pillar of the field. From the development of advanced plumbing and waste management to improve sanitary conditions to the invention of vaccines, public health professionals have always been forward thinkers when it comes to improving the health and well-being of populations.
With the development of new technology, we are broadening the ways we can act at all levels of public health, from downstream interventions to midstream and upstream prevention approaches.
Project Here, a project funded by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the GE Foundation, recognizes the important role technology plays in bringing substance use prevention to young people.
They bring free substance use prevention resources to middle school educators and students across the state of Massachusetts in a form that young people are already engaging with: technology. Project Here resources include an online educational toolkit and web-app, and can be used to supplement an existing substance use prevention curriculum at the middle school level.
The Project Here Online Toolkit provides a centralized location for middle school teachers to access over 50 turn key, evidence-informed resources for classroom instruction, including lesson plans, worksheets, and discussion guides on topics such as stress management, and marijuana and vaping prevention.
Project Here Games is a website-based application that includes interactive games, quizzes, and scenarios that allow middle school students to practice healthy decision-making skills in and outside of the classroom. It’s free to use on computers, tablets, and laptops – with no download required. Project Here Games can be used individually by students on their own devices, in small groups, or as a whole class.
To receive access to the toolkit, please register your Massachusetts school with Project Here. You’ll be sent the password afterwards via email. For more information visit www.projectherema.org.
Project Here is a great example of how technology can be a powerful prevention tool, particularly when we're thinking about young people. The games and apps bring substance use curriculum right to middle-schoolers' phones and makes it fun and engaging. These innovations are what public health is all about.